Global Pandemic Response, Public Health and Sustainability

4 March 2022


Global Pandemic Response, Public Health and Sustainability | The Vice Chancellor’s Lecture on Globalisation, Sustainability, and the Power of Ideas with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

Tuesday, March 01, 2022 | 12:00 Montreal / 17:00 Cambridge / 18:00 Geneva

Since 2019, the University of Cambridge, led and guided by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope, and engaging CISDL and networks of other world-class universities and research institutions, has hosted a lecture series on Globalisation, Sustainability, and the Power of Ideas. It brings together leaders and students from around the world, researchers, and the wider community to consider emerging global policy, law and scientific trends and innovative solutions for the SDGs, and to consider how such ideas emerge, are shared internationally, and can change the world.

The Vice-Chancellor's Lecture was held on 01 March 2022 and was delivered online by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization. The lecture series, which engages partners from CEENRG and CSAP as well as CISDL and others, is driven by the urgency to inspire and innovate the world’s best and brightest minds. Over 470 people participated online in the event, alongside over 900 more through the University of Cambridge livestream, and there have been over 14,000 views on the WHO and University of Cambridge links. The film can be accessed at the World Health Organization’s page or the University of Cambridge’s page, and these links can be shared with others who are interested in public health and the global Sustainable Development Goals.

You can watch the lecture back by clicking on the video below.

After the Vice-Chancellor’s welcome, the Lecture of Dr Tedros was chaired by Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor and a CEENRG Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and also Senior Director of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, followed by brief responses from leading University of Cambridge experts, academics, and policy leaders contributing to the world’s pandemic preparedness, response and recovery, and the SDGs including Dame Barbara Stocking, President Emerita, Murray Edwards College & Chair of Panel for a Global Public Health Convention; and Professor Sharon Peacock, Professor of Public Health and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine & Executive Director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, and Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of the Department of Geography, Professor of Political Economy and Fellow, and Fellow of Fitzwilliam College.

Among others, Ms Lauren Milden, from the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, engaged with Dr Tedros on the contributions of private foundations and donors towards public health worldwide, and the benefits of engaging a broad set of stakeholders from civil society alongside member states in the work of WHO. Ms Jane Jin Qin, a PhD student in the Department of Land Economy and member of CEENRG, asked how international cooperation mechanisms can be strengthened, identifying the need for stronger international health instruments such as a global treaty. Dr Markus Gehring, a CEENRG Fellow, Director of the Centre for European Legal Studies and CISDL Lead Counsel, in collaboration with Prof Jorge Vinuales, CEENRG founder and the Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at the University of Cambridge, brought forward the question of how ‘deep prevention’ might be supported by a global pandemics treaty, as well as how the instrument could contribute to the global Sustainable Development Goals, provoking a stimulating exchange with Dr Tedros and the Respondents. Dr Jessica Ocampos, a CEENRG Fellow and CEO of CamNexus, highlighted the value of local innovation capability in Africa, underlining WHO’s efforts to support the manufacture of mRNA and other vaccines in key countries, and asking how the WHO could also support early stages of the innovation chain such as research and development. Freedom-Kai Phillips, a further CEENRG member and PhD candidate in the Department of Land Economy, served as zoom operator for the event, and Tejas Rao, who joins Land Economy as a PhD candidate in October 2022, served as online moderator.

The lecture series, aims to inspire current and future generations of leaders, teachers, and researchers – to help find ways to support globalisation that is open, inclusive, and sustainable. Speakers will address such questions as: What are the key challenges of globalisation for sustainability? What are the most innovative and exciting new ideas, tools, and strategies in the global public interest? What is needed, for global public health in the context of pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery, in today’s changing society, market and environment? How to build educational opportunities, research, practice, and careers that can make a contribution?

Lauren Milden

Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge

Professor Stephen Toope

The Vice-Chancellor's Office, University of Cambridge